December 17, 2020 | by: Michelle Roy

99.3 The River News—-Dec 17th, 2020

ALL STORIES FROM MBS NEWSROOM

 

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BRIDGE WORK   

 

The Centennial Bridge will be open this coming summer but not in 2022.

The Higgs Government has again pushed back a multi-million renovation to the summers of 2022 and 20-23 when the bridge will have to close and drivers will have to find another way across the River.

Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Jill Green says they wanted to minimize the time the Bridge will have to close…that’s why they’ll be doing the work for shorter periods over two summers instead of one longer one.

 

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FREE BUS RIDES

 

Bus rides will be free on Miramichi Transit next week.

No fare required from Monday through Christmas Eve when the buses will be pulled off the road at 4:00pm, according to the Leader. They’ll be back carrying passengers on the 28th…but then off the road again on New Year’s Day.,

 

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FIRST SHOTS

 

Over 90% of those eliglible for the first shots of the Pfiser vaccine in New Brunswick have replied that they want it.

The first of the initial 1,950 doses will be given out at Miramichi Regional Hospital starting Saturday.

Health Minister Dorothy Shepard told reporters the next shipment of 3,900 doses will arrive next week and will be going to the Moncton area for priority groups…including Long-term care residents and staff, healthcare workers who respond to COVID-19 outbreaks, other healthcare workers, First Nations urses and people over 85.

 

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COVID UPDATE

 

The number of active cases of COVID in the province is 51 after eight more cases were announced yesterday…all people under 40.

One is in the Moncton region, two connected to the outbreak in Edmudston and five in the Fredericton region.

Five of the cases are close contacts of previously confirmed cases, two are related to international travel and one is under investigation.

Nationally, the second wave surge continues with over 6,400 new cases reported outstripping recoveries and pushing the active case count to almost 76,000.

 

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LANGUAGES REPORT

 

The province’s languages commissioner says the pandemic has resulted in increased complaints to her office. Shirley MacLean says they show the government still has a long way to achieve real language equality.

MacLean says in the first month of the pandemic in March they received “many”

complaints about the government’s briefings and failure to provide messaging in French. She says in times of crisis, it’s important to ensure equal treatment of the two official languages. Overal the complainants expressed “dissatisfaction” with the fact Premier Blaine Higgs speaks little or no French.

 

 

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FIRST NATIONS PULL OUT

 

New Brunswick  First Nations have announced they’re pulling out of the Higgs Government’s  proposed “all nations working group”.

The province had announced the working group earlier this month to address recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Wul-ah’-stook-kway) First Nations announced they were withdrawing, calling it a political smokescreen created by the government. The withdrawl comes after the new Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Arlene Dunn, enraged first nations leaders last week when she amended an opposition liberal motion in the house removing language in the bill calling for public inquiry into systemic racism.

 

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FOOD INSERCURITIES

 

A new report from Statistics Canada notes that people who worried about having enough food during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic this spring are also more likely to perceive their mental health as poor and report anxiety symptoms.

Report co-author Heather Gilmour says the stress of food insecurity can trigger feelings of frustration, powerlessness or shame — and may worsen existing psychological problems. The report says those experiencing some level of food insecurity were more likely to be male, younger and single, or live in a larger household or a home with children.